To-do list for enhanced cellular signal in your office

Johannesburg, 29 Jul 2020
Read time 6min 30sec

Very few companies tie staff to their desks these days. Between employees working remotely and execs on the go, connectivity is more fluid than ever before. Some companies are doing away with landline phones, meaning employees are more reliant on their cellular devices.

As buildings become taller and more concentrated in urban South African areas, more and more people are struggling with poor cellphone signal in their office buildings. The most common types of building materials used – concrete, bricks, metal as well as the increased use of low E-glass windows – further block cellphone signal, even in high rise buildings. Basements and underground floor levels are also particularly problematic when it comes to receiving cellular signal.

Ensuring your building has proper cellular signal will not only help increase work productivity and efficiency, but also keep weak cellphone signal from interrupting or stopping your organisation's processes.

What does that mean for you as an IT manager? You will need excellent cellular connectivity for starters.

Here is a to-do list to get you started.

1. Identify problem areas

As the IT manager, you have great knowledge of your building’s technology infrastructure. When it comes to cellular signal, you need to think strategically.

If the signal is an issue in your building, you’re probably used to getting complaints like: “ I only get one bar of service in the conference room, and keep dropping calls.” While bars are a popular measure of signal, they don’t provide a clear picture.

This is one of the first areas where it pays to work with a professional. Sure, you could walk around your building or office park with your cellphone and use bars as an indicator, but that won’t help you truly understand the true signal strength.

Instead, work with an expert to conduct a comprehensive site survey. Our certified installation teams are equipped with the tools and knowledge to determine signal frequency, bandwidth and strength. If a signal survey reveals especially weak signal, it might be time to invest in a tri-band signal booster from WilsonPro.

2. Evaluate your options

Once you decide to enhance your cellular connectivity, it’s time to evaluate the options in the market. Two common solutions are active distributed antenna systems (DAS) and commercial cell signal boosters, also called passive distributed antenna systems (passive DAS).

Active DAS is a common choice for very large office buildings that need enhanced cell signal. These systems use antennas and fibre-optic cable to capture cell signal from a nearby source and broadcast it over a wide area.

Active DAS systems typically create a single-network signal – one that boosts signal only for a specific network, for example, Vodacom or MTN.

Cell signal booster systems, or passive DAS, work to enhance poor reception in a similar way as active DAS without the intensive and expensive installation. Signal boosters work by using rooftop donor antennas to capture existing cell signal from nearby cellular towers, amplifying the weak signal, and then rebroadcasting the boosted signal throughout the building via internal antennas.

Typically, the strength of the cell signal is boosted up to 32 times, resulting in a significant improvement in cellular reception and quality. The incoming cell signal is network-agnostic, meaning it amplifies the signal for all cellular networks and doesn’t discriminate – Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom.

3. Know your budget

When considering your cellular signal solution options, it’s important to know your budget. It’s not uncommon for IT managers to start the process with active DAS in mind, only to realise they can’t afford it or that a commercial cellphone signal booster system is the more efficient – and cost-effective – option.

In fact, active DAS is typically not financially feasible for buildings under 25 000 square metres. With installation and hardware, these systems can cost thousands of rands per square metre. Even with that price tag, the average solution normally only supports one network.

While the exact price of a passive DAS or cell signal booster systems depend on a number of variables, cellphone signal booster systems remain the most financially viable solution for the majority of commercial users.

On average, cellphone signal booster systems cost a quarter of that of an active DAS system per square metre. And with installation taking a matter of days, rather than months, businesses effectively solve the most troublesome cell reception issues in a short amount of time.

4. Work with a professional

Whichever option you decide on, installation is not a job to tackle on your own. Even as an experienced IT professional, it pays to work with a professional installer. Commercial cell signal amplifiers are powerful products with more components and stricter installation requirements than residential boosters. Relying on a trained installation professional ensures that you are adhering to building regulations, getting the best possible coverage, and making the most of the equipment itself.

Here at Bolton Technical, we work with a network of trained professionals to assist with design and installation for your building. Contact us today on 011 749 3085 or e-mail for a site survey of your office building.

5. Recommended solution for office buildings – WilsonPro A1000 Signal Booster

Bolton Technical takes on commercial, industrial, and enterprise businesses with their A1000 signal booster solution for large buildings and offices. The Wilson Pro A1000 (50 Ohm) is manufactured by Wilson Electronics, a global leader in the signal booster industry.

A1000 Signal Booster key features:

  • For large buildings and areas (up to 1000m2)
  • Amplifies signal up to 32 times, powered by a +74 dB gain amplifier
  • Boosts all 2G, 3G, 4G signal (Wideband Coverage)
  • Featuring automatic gain and oscillation control for easy installation and maintenance.
  • Supports all phones and cellular devices on all SA’s mobile networks (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, etc).
  • No more dropped calls, unsent text messages, slow Internet and spotty reception.
  • ICASA approved.

6. How does it work?

The WilsonPro A1000 Signal Booster improves cell reception and coverage with three easy steps:

  1. The outside antenna pulls in the existing cell signal from outside the building. Cables carry the signal directly into the building, bypassing obstructive building material such as concrete, metal and glass.
  2. The amplifier boosts the signal with patented technology.
  3. The inside antennas rebroadcast the enhanced signal throughout the building.

Therefore, stronger signal, more reliable voice and text, faster Internet for hundreds of cellphones, tablets and other cellular devices in your office building. It's that easy.

7. Why is it better than (fill-in-the-blank)?

When compared to the competition? It's not even close. Compared to a distributed antenna system (DAS), the commercial A1000 signal booster is significantly cheaper for similar coverage. Ranging from even less than a quarter of the cost of a DAS system.

We offer world-class technical support based in Johannesburg and our installation teams work across South Africa. All our signal boosters come with a 30-day money back guarantee and one-year warranty.

If you're suffering from unreliable service and poor signal, e-mail us or give Bolton Technical a call on (+27) 11 749 3085. A cellphone signal expert will gladly assist you in getting better signal today.

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